So, you’ve found the perfect bedding and perfect roommate, right? But have you thought about the perfect plan for your period? Whether you have early morning soccer practice, orientation activities or you’re just running around campus, insuring you have the right products on hand for any situation is crucial—and easy to do!
There has never been more choices commonly available for you to pick from. Tampons, pads, menstrual cups, period underwear or any combination of these, or whether you prefer organic or the best option for the environment, there is a lot of options to consider. And a lot of women find that, depending on what phase of their period they’re in or their activities, the product that works best for them can change.
No matter what you choose, the following guidance will help you use these products safely:
- When using tampons, your goal should be to use the lowest absorbency that allows you to avoid leaks and remove the tampon comfortably after 4-8 hours of use. Your flow changes from day to day, and many brands offer multiple absorbencies to mix and match (some even offer a multipack) to make choosing the optimal size for your flow easier. If you leak or spot, go up a size, and if the tampon is hard to remove, go down an absorbency. This guidance is key to not only making your tampon more comfortable and eliminating leaks, but also in helping you minimize the risk of the rare but serious disease, toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Even though the annual incidence rate of TSS in women of menstrual age in the United States is very low at about one case per 100,000 women, all women using tampons need to make sure they understand the information in the package insert and the signs and symptoms of TSS. This includes ALL tampons regardless of composition or absorbency.
- TSS has also been associated with the use of other intra-vaginal products, including menstrual cups, diaphragms and contraceptive sponges. Don’t be misled into thinking TSS is only associated with tampon use.
- Be alert to signs and symptoms of TSS. If you are using tampons or menstrual cups and start to feel sick, see a doctor immediately and tell her you think you might have TSS.
Symptoms include (note: you don’t need to have all of these):
- Onset of flu-like symptoms such as fever (102°F)
- Vomiting, diarrhea
- Sunburn-like rash
- Dizziness, muscle aches
- Fainting/near fainting when standing up
4. Do not use a tampon or menstrual cup for non-menstrual vaginal discharge. Pads and liners are a safer choice.
- Wash hands before and after changing any menstrual product. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria that can cause disease.
- Do not flush used tampons, applicators and pads down the toilet. Always wrap these up in toilet paper like a “mummy” and dispose of them in the trash or product receptacles commonly found inside public restroom stalls.
- Sterilize menstrual cups between each use to reduce the opportunity for growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
We hope you find this guidance helpful as you choose the right product, or products, for your lifestyle. As with everything else in college, if you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask questions! And don’t let myths or on-line information you’re not sure about hold you back from living an active and confident lifestyle. Knowledge is power.
For more information on these issues and more, visit femcareanswers.com!
Track Your Cycle!
Your menstrual cycle is a direct indicator of your overall health, and periods are your body’s way of telling you that things are working as they should. Having an extremely irregular or heavy period can indicate an existing underlying condition. By tracking and logging various details of your cycle, you will be able to recall things that you will might otherwise forget when speaking with your doctor. There are plenty of online tools and apps out there to use!